MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University is releasing some preliminary information from its investigation of the drowning of freshman soccer player Arianna Alioto (ALL-ee-AH-toe), 18, in the university pool on Nov. 30.
“The investigation is ongoing. There is still work to do and we won’t have the autopsy report back from the county medical examiner’s office for a while – most likely sometime in January – but the initial round of interviews has been completed. The university is not at liberty to share the information that is protected by FERPA and HIPPA, the respective federal student and health privacy laws. But there is information we feel we can provide at this time,” said Mike Bath, director of NMU Public Safety and Police Services, which is conducting the investigation.
Bath said interviews were done with everyone in a position to observe what might have happened, including all of the members of the NMU soccer team, the lifeguard, head coach and first responders.
The interviews confirm there was a lifeguard present at the practice session and that none of the persons in the pool during the training session saw or heard anyone in distress during or at the conclusion of the practice.
Information from the interviews support the statement by the lifeguard that she had locked the pool entrances prior to turning in the pool key at the recreation sports front desk at approximately 5 p.m. First responders confirmed that they had to unlock the pool door when responding to the emergency call.
It was approximately 5:35 p.m. ET when a student in the PEIF’s second-story workout area that overlooks the pool identified the possible drowning situation. Preliminary on-site observation by NMU Public Safety officers showed no obvious signs of physical trauma. There is no indication of foul play.
Details provided through the interviews indicate that the recreation sports staff who responded to the emergency call did so quickly and performed emergency first aid procedures appropriately until EMS arrived on the scene to provide advanced emergency care. Alioto was transported to Marquette General Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. ET.
“We want to thank all of the people who we interviewed, and in some cases interviewed again to verify particular details. We know talking to us while trying to get over the shock of Ms. Alioto’s death was not easy,” said Bath. “Our sincere sympathies go out to the Alioto family, Arianna’s teammates and friends, the lifeguard and recreation sports staff members, and any others who have been impacted by this tragedy.”